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Reducing Your Risk of Infection in the Office

No matter what quarantine has put you through so far, you’re probably getting through it with some odd but unexpectedly useful skills. You may have gotten used to lounging in your sweatpants while you take work calls (no one’s fooled by that button down shirt), or perhaps you mastered the art of answering emails while you work your way through Tiger King and finish up tonight’s dinner. But sometime soon, for better or for worse we’re all going to have to get back to the office. We created this guide to help alleviate some of the stress and help you make a smooth, safe transition. 

How to Greet Your Colleagues

After sitting at home for so long, you may have the urge to run to your nearest colleague and attack them with a giant bear hug (if you can even remember what hugs feel like cry). Sadly, gone are the days of hugs, high fives, and (are we really so upset about this one?) firm handshakes. Even smiling might be out of the picture if you’re wearing a mask. So, how can you greet your colleagues without coming into physical contact? Consider:

The Air Five: from a safe distance of six feet, enthusiastically throw your hand into the air at the sight of your nearest colleague. Bonus points for writing a fun greeting on your palm. 

Outdated hand motion of choice: thumbs ups, peace signs, Spiderman hands, you name it. (Just maybe not at your boss.)

Invest in Hand Sanitizer

As humans, we often only act on whatever’s placed directly in our line of sight. Whether this means drinking only if there’s a water source close by, or sanitizing only if you see a dispenser, it can be hard to motivate yourself or even to remember to do minor, important tasks. Placing hand sanitizer dispensers at key points throughout the office can encourage all your employees to keep their hands clean.

Key locations include office entrances, the break room, the copy machine, the water cooler, and any shared appliances. If possible, you should even include a bottle on each employee’s desk.

Cut Back on Deliveries

Keeping an office of employees supplied every week can mean a lot of deliveries coming in, especially for a larger office. However, there are some steps you can take as an employer to cut down on the number of deliveries you receive. Consider ordering double your usual supply when you place your order, so that your deliveries will be less frequent. Additionally, try limiting the number of lunch orders to the office per week. Employers can encourage employees to bring lunch from home, or to only order takeout on certain days of the week. This way, you can still support local restaurants (and your Wednesday Sushi craving) but you’ll be mitigating the risk of virus transmission. (Cutting back on deliveries also mitigates your office’s plastic waste output!) 

Ensure Your Water’s Safety

One of things you may not often think about when ensuring a healthy office space is your drinking water. However, how you supply your employees with water is a crucial factor both in terms of hydration and the spread of germs and viruses. Since the goal is to cut down on the amount of contacts you have per day, bottle deliveries are less than ideal. Additionally, relying simply on your tap at a time like this is not the most reliable way to ensure that your water is clear of viruses. That’s why, switching to a system that connects to your tap source and sterilizes the water is your best option. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. The goal is to create a safe, functioning work space that’s also pleasant to be in. We hope these tips help your office create its own new normal in a healthy, enjoyable way smile

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